The Texas killer has been given an ominous nickname: ‘school shooter’

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By BERNARD CONDON
Associated press

The Uvalde, Texas gunman gave off so many warning signs that he was obsessed with violence and notoriety in the months leading up to the attack that teenagers who knew him started calling him ” school shooter”.

He was once bullied in fourth grade in one of the same classrooms where he killed 19 children and two teachers. And while planning the May 24 massacre, he collected stories about the Buffalo, New York, shooting from a supermarket and played video games with a young student while questioning him about the school schedule.

A state investigation report which highlighted law enforcement’s botched response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School also provided the most detailed account yet of the missed red flags and possible motivations surrounding Salvador Ramos, 18 year. Despite many warning signs, he still managed to legally amass over $5,000 worth of weapons, ammunition and equipment in the weeks leading up to the murders.

Just days before the attack, Ramos announced on social media that he intended to do something that would “put him all over the news”. He wrote about his desire to kill himself, shared videos online of beheadings and violent sex, and sent footage of himself driving with ‘someone he met on the internet’ holding a plastic bag with a dead cat in it and pointing BB guns at people. the window.

“The striker focused on notoriety,” according to the interim report released Sunday by a Texas House of Representatives investigative committee. “He believed his TikTok and YouTube channels would be successful. The small number of views he received led him to tell those he interacted with that he was “famous”, that they were just “randoms” in comparison.

The 77-page report – based on interviews with family members, testimonies and data from Ramos’ phone – presents a long list of missed signals before the massacre, but notes that these clues were known only to ” individuals” and not reported to the authorities. . He also revealed that Ramos had no known ideological or political views that would have made his ramblings more widely known.

The report traces the descent of a shy, quiet boy once considered by a teacher to be a ‘wonderful student’ with a ‘can do attitude’ into a mass murderer who gave many signs online and to family members that he was prone to violence as he amassed an arsenal of guns, body armor and ammunition.

A former girlfriend told the FBI that she believed Ramos had been sexually abused by one of her mother’s boyfriends at an early age, according to the report, but when Ramos told his mother at the time, she didn’t believe him.

Without attributing a specific motive, the report noted that Ramos had spoken of painful fourth-grade memories to an acquaintance weeks before the shooting.

Family members told investigators how Ramos was bullied in fourth grade in one of the same connected classrooms where he carried out the attack. They said he was ridiculed because of his stutter, his short hair and the fact that he wore the same clothes almost every day.

At one point, according to the report, a classmate tied his shoelaces together and Ramos fell on his face, injuring himself. The report notes that Ramos was flagged by school officials as “at risk,” but never received special education services.

School failures were soon accompanied by frequent absences – more than 100 per year as of 2018. The report noted that it was unclear whether a school resource officer had ever visited Ramos’ home. Uvalde High School officials unwittingly pulled him out last fall when he had only finished ninth grade. It was around the same time that he left his mother’s house and started living with his grandmother, a few blocks from the elementary school.

Months before filming, Ramos began contacting acquaintances with “vague but worrying messages” about doing something soon.

In March 2022, two months before the shooting, a student on Instagram told him that “people at school are talking (swearing) about you and calling you school shooter.”

The following month, Ramos asked in a direct message on Instagram: “Will you still remember me in 50 days?” After the answer – ‘probably not’ – Ramos replied: “Hmm ok, we’ll see in May.”

Crystal Foutz, who attended school with Ramos, told The Associated Press he was often angry and gave off ‘vibes’ as if he could shoot the spot, although it was taken more as a joke than as serious.

“You’ve heard people joke and say, ‘He looks like a school shooter,'” Foutz said, though she was quick to add, “I’ve heard other people say.

Ramos took jobs at two fast food restaurants to save money for what he told his acquaintances was ‘something big’, which family members assumed was his own flat or his own car. Instead, it was guns and bullets, which he tried to get two people to buy when he was 17 and unable to obtain it legally.

But on May 16, the shooter turned 18 and started buying guns and ammunition, persuading an uncle to drive him to a gun shop. He ended up spending over $5,000 on two AR-style rifles, ammo, and other gear. And with no criminal history or even an arrest, Ramos passed all background checks.

He previously wrote “10 more days” online, sparking speculation from readers that he was planning to “shoot a school or something” or commit “mass murder”. A friend told him that an acquaintance “was telling everyone you were shooting at the school”.

He also spent time playing the children’s video game Roblox with his cousin’s son, a student at Robb Elementary, and “got details from him about his schedule and how lunch periods worked at the school”.

“I have a little secret,” Ramos wrote on Snapchat to a German teenager he had befriended days before the May 24 shooting, adding that he was first waiting for something “to happen. delivered” on Monday. His order for 1,740 hollow-point bullets that expand in bodies on impact, killing more easily, arrived later that day.

“None of his online behavior was ever reported to law enforcement,” the report states, “and if it was reported by other users to a social media platform, it does not appear to not that steps have been taken to restrict his access or report him to authorities as a threat.

Shortly before entering Robb Elementary, the shooter contacted the German teenager he had befriended earlier, posting a message that he had just shot his grandmother in the face. and that he was about to “shoot” an elementary school.

Not sure if he was serious, the German teenager replied: “Cool”.

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Condon reported from New York. AP reporter Jim Mustian in New York contributed to this report.

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Read more about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/school-shootings

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